5 Dos and Don’ts When Making a SMART Purpose [+Examples]

Yearly I create obscure New 12 months’s resolutions, however this yr I made a decision to attempt one thing totally different.

SMART goals graphic with a woman holding a compass for direction, pens for writing goals, clock to time-bound, and chess pieces for strategy.

Utilizing the SMART aim framework (particular, measurable, attainable, related, and time-bound), I reworded my 2023 aim from “learn extra books” to “learn two books per 30 days to hit my aim of studying 24 earlier than the tip of the yr.”

The SMART framework is an efficient technique for creating extra particular and attainable objectives. Plus, it supplies benchmarks in opposition to which you’ll be able to measure your progress — when you’ve got a bigger, extra daunting aim, smaller steps can assist you stay motivated.

Right here, let’s discover what SMART objectives are, why they’re vital, and how you can make your individual.

Download your free marketing goal-setting template here. 

SMART Goals Template from HubSpotObtain this Template for Free

Within the working world, the affect of SMART objectives continues to develop. The rationale why profitable advertising groups at all times hit their numbers is that in addition they set SMART objectives. Use the template above to comply with alongside and create your individual SMART objectives.

What are SMART objectives?

SMART objectives are concrete targets that you just goal to hit over a sure interval. These objectives must be fastidiously drafted by a supervisor and their direct report back to set them up for achievement. “SMART” is an acronym that describes an important traits of every aim.

“SMART” stands for “particular,” “measurable,” “attainable,” “related,” and “time-bound.” Every SMART aim ought to have these 5 traits to make sure the aim may be reached and advantages the worker. Discover out what every attribute means under, and how you can write a SMART aim that exemplifies them.

SMART Purpose Acronym

Most hint the SMART acronym again to a 1981 paper by George Doran, “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. method to write administration objectives and targets.” His colleagues Arthur Miller and James Cunningham are additionally credited for his or her work on this paper.

The “Aims” part of this paper asks “How do you write significant targets?” Then goes on to outline the SMART acronym as the next:

  • Particular — goal a particular space for enchancment.
  • Measurable — quantify or no less than recommend an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable — specify who will do it.
  • Practical — state what outcomes can realistically be achieved, given out there assets.
  • Time-related — specify when the consequence(s) may be achieved.

The that means of every letter on this acronym can shift primarily based on the person and the way they need to apply this framework to their enterprise. You’ll be able to see the most well-liked phrases and their best-known alternate options under:

SMART goals acronym

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The paper additionally says that not each aim might want to meet all 5 standards. As a substitute, the aim was to make use of this acronym to create a benchmark for administration excellence.

However immediately, the SMART acronym often seems like this:

Measurable goals: Smart goals

SMART objectives are:

  • Particular
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Related
  • Time-bound

This framework continues to be helpful as a result of it is simple to recollect and can assist streamline the goal-setting course of.

Let’s speak extra about every a part of the SMART acronym and how one can apply this as you create measurable objectives for your self and your workforce.

S — Particular

Particular objectives are clear and embody exact particulars. Specificity makes your aim straightforward to know and perform.

To verify in case your aim is restricted, ask multiple particular person to overview your aim and rephrase what you are attempting to do. In case your proofreaders give you multiple thought of your last aim, it is not particular sufficient.

M — Measurable

Measurable objectives are targets which you can calculate and monitor over time. Objectives that embody a set measurement or metric are extra concrete than anecdotal objectives or plans primarily based on somebody’s opinion.

Measurable objectives offer you and your workforce an opportunity to trace progress towards a aim and make modifications over time. It additionally provides you a transparent and particular image of success.

To determine how you can make your aim measurable, look intently at your final aim. Ask your self:

  • How can we management this aim?
  • Is that this aim clear and actionable?
  • Is there something subjective about this aim?

Then, select the metrics that almost all straight connect with your last aim. For those who’re unsure which metrics to decide on, this information to KPIs can assist you get began.

A — Attainable

Attainable objectives are difficult however achievable. This side of goal-setting ought to think about the distinctive qualities of your workforce properly as the issues and blockers you’re employed on collectively.

To set bold however attainable objectives, begin by considering massive. Create an inventory the place you think about the absolute best outcomes. Take a break for a day or two, then come again and edit your checklist with each query, problem, and critique you’ll be able to consider.

Objectives which are too straightforward to fulfill will not encourage your workforce or result in development. However objectives which are unrealistic can demoralize your workforce and pressure assets. It is vital to seek out the correct steadiness.

R — Related

Related objectives help the mission, imaginative and prescient, and priorities of your enterprise.

To verify your SMART objectives connect with your enterprise objectives, begin the aim and objective-setting course of with a fast overview.

Learn by means of your organization’s mission and imaginative and prescient statements, or print and publish them on the wall in a shared area. Then overview quarterly enterprise studies, current memos, or any current communication about enterprise objectives. This may imply you begin the method with what’s related on the high of your thoughts.

After you draft your SMART objectives, do one other fast scan of those paperwork and overview your objectives for relevance.

It is easy to get excited a couple of new thought, even when it does not align with firm priorities. However the perfect concepts will help your most important enterprise objectives.

T — Time-Certain

Time-bound objectives have a particular deadline or timeframe. Including a time constraint to your aim creates a way of urgency.

Urgency combines significance with a necessity for motion. That is typically as a result of there is a worry of penalties. Different instances workers really feel it as a result of they’re keen to organize for the long run or meet an thrilling aim.

Time constraints are vital to your goal-setting course of. It’s because duties which are time-sensitive usually really feel extra vital than duties and not using a timeframe connected. Because of this, irrespective of how important a mission is, it would drop in precedence and not using a deadline.

Fortunately, it is simple to create a sense of urgency. Simply add a sensible timeframe to your aim. Time-bound objectives additionally set clear expectations for stakeholders, which improves communication.

Why are SMART objectives vital?

SMART objectives are vital to set as they:

  • Show you how to work with clear intentions, not broad or obscure objectives
  • Present a way to gauge your success by setting benchmarks to fulfill
  • Give wise targets which are life like and achievable
  • Minimize out pointless or irrelevant work that would take away from what’s vital
  • Set a transparent starting and finish to stick to in reaching your objectives

Once you make objectives which are particular, measurable, attainable, related, and time-bound, you are growing your odds for achievement by verifying that the aim is achievable, figuring out the metrics that outline success, and making a roadmap to achieve these metrics.

In case your objectives are summary, if you do not know what it would take to realize success, or for those who do not give your self a deadline to finish steps, you could lose focus and fall wanting what you need to accomplish.

Do SMART objectives truly work?

Briefly — sure, if carried out appropriately.

For example, one examine discovered 76% of individuals who wrote down their objectives, made an inventory of goal-driven actions, and supplied weekly progress studies to a pal achieved their objectives — which is 33% larger than these with unwritten objectives.

Moreover, I polled roughly 300 individuals within the U.S. and located 52% consider SMART objectives assist them obtain their objectives extra usually than in the event that they did not use a SMART framework.

SMART goals statistic showing people believe SMART goals work

Setting unrealistic objectives and making an attempt to measure them with out consideration of earlier efficiency, overly brief time frames, or together with too many variables will lead you off track.

Nevertheless, these objectives work provided that formulated correctly and in the event that they take note of the motive and cadence of these engaged on them. Moreover, your SMART objectives can solely succeed when the workers working in the direction of them have the means to realize them.

Advantages of SMART Objectives

Provide Focus and Readability

The method of aim completion is usually extra difficult than it appears. Distractions, facet duties, and different initiatives can all steer you away from finishing your initiatives.

However SMART objectives enhance focus as a result of they simplify your to-do checklist of duties. On the similar time, they provide an instantaneous reminder of why these particular duties are vital.

Increase Motivation

It is commonplace to expertise stress or overwhelm within the office. One contributor is usually an absence of clear objectives. And that mixture could make a critical affect in your motivation.

However a SMART aim can enhance vitality, enhance course, and encourage you and your workforce as a result of:

  • It will get everybody extra concerned within the course of
  • It helps workers perceive why their work is vital
  • It gives a brand new problem and course for people who find themselves feeling caught

Enhance Accountability

Concern of failure usually stops folks from doing their finest work. To keep away from this stressor, you may keep away from making a dedication within the office.

However accountability is a necessary for high-growth groups. It helps you and your workforce interact, take possession of their work, and take duty for progress.

SMART objectives enhance accountability as a result of they provide groups and managers a easy method to monitor progress towards shared targets. This makes it simpler for groups to know the educational, teaching, and suggestions they should optimize efficiency.

SMART objectives additionally assist groups handle and plan their time extra successfully. They make it simpler to prioritize duties too.

Strengthen Communication

In line with 2023 knowledge from Mission.co, 68% of businesspeople have wasted time because of communication points. And solely 7% of companies charge their communication as “wonderful.” Clearly, efficient communication is each troublesome and important to any enterprise.

SMART objectives assist with efficient communication. It’s because they’re objectives that a number of coworkers, groups, and departments can rapidly perceive. This improves knowledge-sharing, collaborative efforts, and communication.

Assist Handle Assets

Correct useful resource administration can scale back prices, make processes extra environment friendly, and improve productiveness. However managing assets is hard.

Put merely, a enterprise is a bunch of individuals, every with distinct data and expertise, working towards particular person objectives. These particular person objectives finally come collectively to fulfill frequent objectives, however within the course of, issues can get somewhat wonky.

However SMART objectives are nice for useful resource administration. It’s because they provide a construction that makes it simpler for groups to see the place a course of is creating blocks or challenges. This helps groups perceive when priorities and assets are out of sync. It additionally creates a shared function that may encourage folks to make crucial however troublesome modifications.

Improve Innovation

Innovation is a course of that mixes creativity and problem-solving abilities to get authentic concepts. You will have heard the frequent perception says that creativity requires an absence of boundaries. And a few critiques of SMART objectives say that they’ll have detrimental impacts if goal-setting is simply too inflexible or narrowly outlined.

However there’s intensive knowledge, together with this analysis from Harvard Enterprise Assessment, that claims constraints usually positively affect innovation. SMART objectives enhance innovation as a result of they create motivational challenges. The motivation is available in half from the constraints groups must work inside.

Improve Efficiency

For managers, SMART objectives provide a helpful framework for bettering worker efficiency. They make progress towards mission objectives clear. This goal-setting framework also can apply to long-term private objectives for every member of your workforce.

For people, SMART objectives could make it simpler to steadiness and monitor work initiatives. They will enhance efficiency as a result of they assist you to:

  • Measure progress
  • Establish strengths and weaknesses
  • Construct constructive momentum

Setting and dealing towards SMART objectives also can assist you to develop new behaviors that may enhance efficiency.

Let’s check out some life like examples of SMART objectives to color a clearer image of what they’re.

1. Weblog Site visitors Purpose

  • Particular: I need to enhance our weblog’s visitors by growing our weekly publishing frequency from 5 to eight instances every week. Our two bloggers will improve their workload from writing two posts every week to 3 posts every week, and our editor will improve her workload from writing one publish every week to 2 posts every week.
  • Measurable: Our aim is an 8% improve in visitors.
  • Attainable: Our weblog visitors elevated by 5% final month after we elevated our weekly publishing frequency from three to 5 instances every week.
  • Related: By growing weblog visitors, we’ll enhance model consciousness and generate extra leads, giving gross sales extra alternatives to shut.
  • Time-Certain: Finish of this month.
  • SMART Purpose: On the finish of this month, our weblog will see an 8% raise in visitors by growing our weekly publishing frequency from 5 posts per week to eight posts per week.

smart goal example on blog traffic

2. Fb Video Views Purpose

  • Particular: I need to enhance our common views per native video by reducing our video content material combine from eight subjects to our 5 hottest subjects.
  • Measurable: Our aim is a 25% improve in views.
  • Attainable: Once we minimize down our video content material combine on Fb from 10 subjects to our eight hottest subjects, our common views per native video elevated by 20%.
  • Related: By growing common views per native video on Fb, we’ll enhance our social media following and model consciousness, reaching extra potential clients with our video content material.
  • Time-Certain: In six months.
  • SMART Purpose: In six months, we’ll see a 25% improve in common video views per native video on Fb by reducing our video content material combine from eight subjects to our 5 hottest subjects.

3. E mail Subscription Purpose

  • Particular: I need to enhance the variety of e-mail weblog subscribers by growing our Fb promoting funds on weblog posts that traditionally purchase essentially the most e-mail subscribers.
  • Measurable: Our aim is a 50% improve in subscribers.
  • Attainable: Since we began utilizing this tactic three months in the past, our e-mail weblog subscriptions have elevated by 40%.
  • Related: By growing the variety of e-mail weblog subscribers, our weblog will drive extra visitors, enhance model consciousness, and drive extra results in our gross sales workforce.
  • Time-Certain: In three months.
  • SMART Purpose: In three months, we’ll see a 50% improve within the variety of e-mail weblog subscribers by growing our Fb promoting funds on posts that traditionally purchase essentially the most weblog subscribers.

4. Webinar Signal-Up Purpose

  • Particular: I need to improve the variety of sign-ups for our Fb Messenger webinar by selling it by means of social, e-mail, our weblog, and Fb Messenger.
  • Measurable: Our aim is a 15% improve in sign-ups.
  • Attainable: Our final Fb Messenger webinar noticed a ten% improve in sign-ups after we solely promoted it by means of social, e-mail, and our weblog.
  • Related: When our webinars generate extra leads, gross sales have extra alternatives to shut.
  • Time-Certain: By June 1, the day of the webinar.
  • SMART Purpose: By June 1, the day of our webinar, we’ll see a 15% improve in sign-ups by selling it by means of social, e-mail, our weblog, and Fb Messenger.

smart goal example on webinar sign-ups

5. Touchdown Web page Efficiency Purpose

  • Particular: I need our touchdown pages to generate extra leads by switching from a one-column type to a two-column type.
  • Measurable: My aim is a 30% improve in lead era.
  • Attainable: Once we A/B examined our conventional one-column type versus a two-column type on our highest-traffic touchdown pages, we found that two-column types convert 27% higher than our conventional one-column types, at a 99% significance degree.
  • Related: If we generate extra content material leads, gross sales can shut extra clients.
  • Time-Certain: One yr from now.
  • SMART Purpose: One yr from now, our touchdown pages will generate 30% extra leads by switching their types from one column to 2 columns.

6. Hyperlink-Constructing Technique Purpose

  • Particular: I need to improve our web site’s natural visitors by growing a link-building technique that will get different publishers to hyperlink to our web site. This will increase our rating in search engine outcomes, permitting us to generate extra natural visitors.
  • Measurable: Our aim is 40 backlinks to our firm homepage.
  • Attainable: In line with our search engine marketing evaluation software, there are presently 500 low-quality hyperlinks directing to our homepage from elsewhere on the web. Given the variety of partnerships we presently have with different companies, and that we generate 10 new inbound hyperlinks per 30 days with none outreach on our half, an extra 40 inbound hyperlinks from a single link-building marketing campaign is a major however possible goal.
  • Related: Natural visitors is our high supply of latest leads, and backlinks are one of many largest rating components on serps like Google. If we construct hyperlinks from high-quality publications, our natural rating will increase, boosting our visitors and leads because of this.
  • Time-Certain: 4 months from now.
  • SMART Purpose: Over the subsequent 4 months, I’ll construct 40 extra backlinks that direct to www.ourcompany.com. To take action, I’ll collaborate with Ellie and Andrew from our PR division to attach with publishers and develop an efficient outreach technique.

7. Decreasing Churn Price Purpose

  • Particular: I need to scale back buyer churn by 5% for my firm as a result of each buyer loss is a mirrored image of our service’s high quality and notion.
  • Measurable: Contact 30 at-risk clients per week and supply buyer help day by day for 5 new clients throughout their onboarding course of.
  • Attainable: Our product providing has simply improved and now we have the means to speculate extra into our buyer help workforce, and will probably have 5 at-risk clients to upscale month-to-month.
  • Related: We are able to arrange a buyer data base to trace clients’ development within the purchaser’s journey and stop churn by contacting them earlier than they lose curiosity.
  • Time-Certain: In 24 weeks.
  • SMART Purpose: In 24 weeks, I’ll scale back the churn charge by 5% for my firm. To take action, we’ll contact 30 at-risk clients per week and supply/spend money on buyer help to help 5 new clients throughout onboarding day by day and monitor their progress by means of a buyer data base.

8. Model Affinity Purpose

  • Particular: I need to improve our podcast listener depend as we try to ascertain ourselves as thought leaders in our market.
  • Measurable: A 40% improve in listeners is our aim.
  • Attainable: We are able to improve our present funds and degree our podcaster’s cadence, to have the means to carry insightful conversations for our listeners to tune into.
  • Related: We created a podcast and have devoted a workforce to supply attention-grabbing visitors, sound mixing, and crowd pleasing thumbnails to get it began.
  • Time-Certain: In 4 months.
  • SMART Purpose: In 4 months, we’ll see a 40% improve in common listener depend in Apple Podcasts by offering our workforce the funds and cadence to make insightful podcasts with high quality sound mixing and crowd pleasing thumbnails.

9. Podcast Listener Rely Purpose

  • Particular: I need to enhance our podcast’s listener depend by selling our podcast throughout social channels. We are going to publish 4 quotes associated to new podcast episodes all through the month on our Twitter account, and we’ll publish six brief movies of our podcast conversations with visitors on our Instagram account all through the month.
  • Measurable: Our aim is a 20% improve in podcast listeners.
  • Attainable: Our podcast listener depend elevated by 5% final month after we revealed two brief movies of our podcast dialog on Instagram.
  • Related: By growing podcast listener depend, we’ll enhance model consciousness and generate extra leads, giving gross sales extra alternatives to shut.
  • Time-Certain: Finish of this month.
  • SMART Purpose: On the finish of this month, our podcast will see a 20% improve in listeners by growing our social media promotions from two Instagram posts to 4 Twitter posts and 6 Instagram posts.

10. In-Particular person Occasion Attendee Purpose

  • Particular: I need to enhance attendance at our upcoming in-person occasion by 50% by sending out three e-mail reminders to our subscriber lists every week earlier than the occasion.
  • Measurable: Our aim is a 50% improve in attendees.
  • Attainable: Our attendee quantity elevated by 20% final yr after we despatched out one e-mail reminder to our subscriber lists.
  • Related: By growing attendee depend, we’ll improve model loyalty by offering worth to our present clients, and generate extra leads.
  • Time-Certain: August 30.
  • SMART Purpose: By the point of our occasion on August thirtieth, our attendee quantity will improve by 50% from the place it is at now (250 attendees), by sending out three e-mail reminders to our subscriber lists.

Now that you just’ve seen examples of SMART objectives, let’s dive into how you can make your individual.

How to make a SMART goal: Do’s and Don’ts

1. Use particular wording.

When writing SMART objectives, take into account that they’re “particular” in that there is a onerous and quick vacation spot the worker is making an attempt to achieve. “Get higher at my job,” is not a SMART aim as a result of it is not particular. As a substitute, ask your self: What are you getting higher at? How significantly better do you need to get?

For those who’re a advertising skilled, your job most likely revolves round key efficiency indicators or KPIs. Subsequently, you may select a selected KPI or metric that you just need to enhance on — like guests, leads, or clients. You also needs to determine the workforce members working towards this aim, the assets they’ve, and their plan of motion.

In apply, a particular SMART aim may say, “Clifford and Braden will improve the weblog’s visitors from e-mail …” You understand precisely who’s concerned and what you are making an attempt to enhance on.

Widespread SMART Purpose Mistake: Vagueness

When you might must maintain some objectives extra open-ended, it’s best to keep away from vagueness that would confuse your workforce afterward. For instance, as a substitute of claiming, “Clifford will enhance e-mail advertising experiences,” say “Clifford will enhance e-mail advertising click on charges by 10%.”

2. Embody measurable objectives.

SMART objectives must be “measurable” in which you can monitor and quantify the aim’s progress. “Improve the weblog’s visitors from e-mail,” by itself, is not a SMART aim as a result of you’ll be able to’t measure the rise. As a substitute, ask your self: How a lot e-mail advertising visitors must you try for?

If you wish to gauge your workforce’s progress, you have to quantify your objectives, like attaining an X-percentage improve in guests, leads, or clients.

Let’s construct on the SMART aim we began above. Now, our measurable SMART aim may say, “Clifford and Braden will improve the weblog’s visitors from e-mail by 25% extra classes per 30 days … ” You understand what you are growing, and by how a lot.

Widespread SMART Purpose Mistake: No KPIs

That is in the identical mild of avoiding vagueness. When you may want qualitative or open-ended proof to show your success, it’s best to nonetheless give you a quantifiable KPI. For instance, as a substitute of claiming, “Customer support will enhance buyer happiness,” say, “We would like the typical name satisfaction rating from clients to be a seven out of ten or larger.”

3. Intention for realistically attainable objectives.

An “attainable” SMART aim considers the worker’s potential to realize it. Guarantee that X-percentage improve is rooted in actuality. In case your weblog visitors elevated by 5% final month, attempt to improve it by 8-10% this month, reasonably than a lofty 25%.

It is essential to base your objectives by yourself analytics, not business benchmarks, or else you may chew off greater than you’ll be able to chew. So, let’s add some “attainability” to the SMART aim we created earlier on this weblog publish: “Clifford and Braden will improve the weblog’s visitors from e-mail by 8-10% extra classes per 30 days … ” This manner, you are not setting your self as much as fail.

Widespread SMART Purpose Mistake: Unattainable Objectives

Sure. It’s best to at all times goal to enhance. However reaching for fully unattainable objectives might knock you off track and make it more durable to trace progress. Fairly than saying, “We need to make 10,000% of what we made in 2022,” think about one thing extra attainable, like, “We need to improve gross sales by 150% this yr,” or “We now have a quarterly aim to achieve a 20% year-over-year gross sales improve.”

4. Decide related objectives that relate to your enterprise.

SMART objectives which are “related” relate to your organization’s total enterprise objectives and account for present tendencies in your business. For example, will rising your visitors from e-mail result in extra income? And, is it truly potential so that you can considerably enhance your weblog’s e-mail visitors given your present e-mail advertising campaigns?

For those who’re conscious of those components, you’re extra more likely to set objectives that profit your organization — not simply you or your division.

So, what does that do to our SMART aim? It’d encourage you to regulate the metric you are utilizing to trace the aim’s progress. For instance, possibly your enterprise has traditionally relied on natural visitors for producing leads and income, and analysis suggests you’ll be able to generate extra certified leads this manner.

Our SMART aim may as a substitute say, “Clifford and Braden will improve the weblog’s natural visitors by 8-10% extra classes per 30 days.” This manner, your visitors improve is aligned with the enterprise’s income stream.

Widespread SMART Purpose Mistake: Shedding Sight of the Firm

When your organization is doing properly, it may be straightforward to say you need to pivot or develop in one other course. Whereas corporations can efficiently do that, you do not need your workforce to lose sight of how the core of your enterprise works.

Fairly than saying, “We need to begin a brand new B2B enterprise on high of our B2C enterprise,” say one thing like, “We need to proceed growing B2C gross sales whereas researching the affect our merchandise may have on the B2B area within the subsequent yr.”

5. Make objectives time-bound by together with a timeframe and deadline data.

A “time-bound” SMART aim retains you on schedule. Enhancing on a aim is nice, however not if it takes too lengthy. Attaching deadlines to your objectives places a wholesome dose of strain in your workforce to perform them. This helps you make constant and important progress in the long run.

For instance, which might you favor: growing natural visitors by 5% each month, resulting in a 30-35% improve in half a yr? Or making an attempt to extend visitors by 15% with no deadline and attaining that aim in the identical timeframe? For those who picked the previous, you are proper.

So, what does our SMART aim appear like as soon as we certain it to a timeframe? “Over the subsequent three months, Clifford and Braden will work to extend the weblog’s natural visitors by 8-10%, reaching a complete of fifty,000 natural classes by the tip of August.”

Widespread SMART Purpose Mistake: No Time Body

Having no timeframe or a very broad span of time famous in your aim will trigger the hassle to get reprioritized or make it onerous so that you can see in case your workforce is on monitor. Fairly than saying. “This yr, we need to launch a serious marketing campaign,” say, “In quarter one, we’ll give attention to marketing campaign manufacturing with a view to launch the marketing campaign in quarter two.”

Make Your SMART Objectives SMART-er

Now that you understand what a SMART aim is, why it is vital, and the framework to create one, it is time to put that data into apply. Whether or not you are setting objectives for a private achievement or as a part of hitting vital advertising milestones, it is good to start out with what you need to obtain after which reverse-engineer it right into a concrete SMART aim.

Editor’s notice: This publish was initially revealed in December 2019 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.

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